Nice Tools to Have For Building Beehives - dummies

Nice Tools to Have For Building Beehives

By Howland Blackiston

It’s mighty fun to consider those extra shop toys that make work on your beehives easier, faster, or more enjoyable. So even though the following items aren’t absolutely necessary, they’re a great way to spend your allowance.

  • Compressor and pneumatic nail gun: If you plan to build only a single hive and that’s that, investing in a pneumatic air gun is likely not justified. But if you plan to crank out a few of these projects, seriously consider looking into this.

    It’s the single most timesaving tool you can invest in. It can sink nails of any size or length with a squeeze of the trigger. You’ll love using it for the otherwise tedious task of assembling frames. Ten nails per frame, 30 frames in a hive — that’s 300 nails to hammer in place! No bent nails and no hammered thumbs.

    As helpful as nail guns can be, the word gun should be enough to raise a safety flag. Like any power tool, nail guns present an opportunity for danger. Here are some safety hints:

    • Before using, carefully read the owner’s manual.

    • Never tamper with or remove the built-in safety devices.

    • When loading the gun with nails, disconnect the gun from its power source.

    • Always wear soundproof ear protectors and safety glasses.

    • Keep your finger off the trigger if you’re not firing the tool.

    • Never point the gun in a direction you don’t intend for a nail to go.

    Complete nail gun starter kits run about $250. If you’re not quite ready to invest in this luxury, see if you can borrow one from a friend, or consider renting one.

  • Power sander: A small, orbital power sander can make short work of clearing up any splintered edges or rough spots on your woodenware. They’re not expensive — some are less than $40. Power sanding is far less tiresome than sanding by hand with a sheet of sandpaper.

  • Shop vacuum: You’re going to generate some serious sawdust from your power tools. In a perfect world, your shop would include a dust collector system. But in the meantime, a shop vac (wet/dry vacuum) will help you quickly clean up the mess during and after your woodworking.

    You can use the vac to directly connect to hoses in your power equipment and suck up the dust before it becomes airborne. A good wet/dry shop vacuum with a built-in fine particle filter starts at about $130.

The following list is strictly fun stuff. Though not a must, how cool are these gadgets?

  • Custom branding iron: With this gadget you can mark your products with your name, initials, or a logo. A number of companies on the Internet make custom branding irons. Some are electric, and some are propane-powered. Search on the web for “custom branding irons.” Using one is a fun and proprietary way to brand your handiwork as your own.

  • Dust collector: A shop vacuum with a fine particle filter is a good start to keeping your shop clean and the air safer, but if you’re bashing out the beehives, you’ll want to have a proper dust collector system in your shop.

    It’s essentially a whacking big vacuum that connects by hoses to all your shop equipment. The unit captures the dust and wood chips that your shop tools generate. Dust collectors can be a bit pricey ($150 to more than $600), but they do an excellent job. Your lungs will thank you.

  • Router table: In the simplest terms, a router table consists of a sturdy flat table surface with a router attached to the bottom. The router itself is a motor with interchangeable bits. The router is mounted with its base attached to the underside of the table and the cutting bit sticking up through a hole in the table’s surface.

    The table holds the router securely, leaving both hands free to guide the lumber being cut. By changing out the bits, you can easily perform all the tasks necessary to cut dadoes, rabbets, finger joints, grooves, and a host of other nifty woodworking tasks.

    Though you can certainly accomplish these same cuts using a table saw, many woodworkers prefer using a router and table. If you have the space and budget, you won’t ever regret having one in the shop. Decent tables with a router motor start at around $100.

  • Self-marking tape measure: A self-marking tape measure is a tape measure with a marking cartridge that eliminates the need for a pencil or an additional marking tool. At the point where the tape exits the roll, there’s a pre-inked marker on the underside. Just set the tape measure down on the lumber you’re measuring, and it accurately makes the mark. Awesome.